In sport, that extra 2 or 3% on match day can make all the difference. For Connacht outhalf Jack Carty, accessing that edge has given him a massive boost this season.
Carty has emerged as one of Connacht’s most important players this year and his excellent displays for his province have propelled him into the international scene, as he featured frequently in the Six Nations.
The 26-year old made three appearances in what was a disappointing tournament as a whole for Joe Schmidt’s men, but on a personal note, Carty is now firmly in with a shout of making the World Cup squad for September.
But what’s given him that extra edge this season?
Carty cites a number of reasons, the most notable of which is the introduction of a focus coach, to aid him with his place kicking.
Speaking as he was nominated for the Zurich Players’ Player of the Year Award for 2019, Carty gave a fascinating insight into how the focus coach worked excellently for himself and Connacht hooker Dave Heffernan.
“This season I’ve started using a focus coach in Galway. It’s quite difficult to explain, so basically it measures how you can block out conscious thoughts and tap into your subconscious. So when you’re doing a process it’s the same no matter what you’re doing.
“I use it as does Dave Heffernan, who’s the Connacht hooker. So both of us do it.
“Effectively what you do is put a headband around your head which measures your different brainwaves that your brain is outputting and then you put an iPad in front of you and it’s kind of weird but something pops up on the screen and basically when you’re brainwaves are in the correct threshold it’ll shoot green and if it’s not it’ll shoot red.
“It obviously teaches your brain whenever you’re within the correct threshold. It releases dopamine to train your brain to be in the correct midframe.”
The process may seem alien to some but for Carty, there’s no question he feels that it has worked for him and the statistics don’t lie.
The Connacht outhalf is currently the top points scorer in this season’s Pro14 and is in the top five for try assists. This season he also claimed the accolade of the province’s record point scorer.
“For some fellas, they think it’s the biggest gimmick in the world,” said Carty.
“Some might use it and it might not work for them but it’s given me maybe 2 or 3% extra and when you have 2 or 3% it ends up adding up and hopefully it can keep working for me.”
James Ryan and Jack Carty were on hand to announce the nominees for the 2019 Zurich Players’ Player of the Year Award. The Zurich Irish Rugby Players Awards, one of the biggest nights in Irish sport, will take place on Wednesday, 15th May, at the Clayton Hotel in Ballsbridge.